Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sack of Crapsack Worlds

These tables generate rather unpleasant settings in the vein of Robert E. Howard or Clark Ashton Smith. As examples:

In the sky there is a fat red sun, the Keening Moon, and the little Silent Moon. Magic is usually taught, but inimical to us. Outside the settlements, there is mostly marsh, dotted with pylons. We worship the ancestors, but schisms are widening in the faith. Monsters are rare and cunning. We work in wood, which is guarded. Settlements are ancient and teeming.

In the sky there is a yellow sun, a vast sweeping ring, and the twin moons. Monsters are hidden and viscous. Settlements are isolated and hungry. We work in bronze, which must be hunted. Outside the settlements, there is mostly ice, dotted with ruins. Magic is usually abundant but ritualistic. We worship the one God but heresies are becoming common.

Of course, in any of these settings, one must consider the sky first.

We watch (1d6) interesting things in the sky. Each is…
  1. tiny (a star, a comet)
  2. small (a small white sun, a lesser moon)
  3. average (a yellow sun, a moon)
  4. large (a fat red sun, a large moon)
  5. immense (a sister planet, a planetary ring)
  6. weird (fragments of larger body, erratic orbit, a literal five-headed space dragon)

For the other aspects, first roll to see the order in which each dominates the setting, then roll 2d6 for each.

(1) We work in ... which…
  1. wood
  2. stone
  3. bronze
  4. iron
  5. steel
  6. crystal
  1. is rewarded
  2. is guarded
  3. is unstable
  4. must be hunted
  5. is dwindling
  6. is toxic
(2) Magic is usually…. but…
  1. nonexistent
  2. the stuff of legends
  3. taught
  4. inherited
  5. abundant
  6. unavoidable
  1. requires sacrifice
  2. ritualistic
  3. inimical to us
  4. wrought by spirits
  5. prone to surges
  6. fading
(3) We worship… but...
  1. the ancestors
  2. the one God
  3. the divine family
  4. spirits of the land
  5. a myriad of gods
  6. the great Entities
  1. nobody really believes
  2. the faith is old and unsteady
  3. heresies are becoming common
  4. schisms are widening in the faith
  5. only out of fear
  6. there has been silence
(4) Settlements are usually… and…
  1. tiny
  2. sprawling
  3. isolated
  4. mobile
  5. underground
  6. ancient
  1. fortified
  2. decadent
  3. forlorn
  4. insular
  5. hungry
  6. teeming
(5) Outside the settlements, there is mostly… dotted with...
  1. desert
  2. ice
  3. marsh
  4. jungle
  5. the sea
  6. the howling void
  1. craters
  2. storms
  3. volcanoes
  4. ruins
  5. lights
  6. pylons
(6) Monsters are… and…
  1. rare
  2. hidden
  3. swarming
  4. migratory
  5. everywhere
  6. in control
  1. immortal
  2. viscious
  3. cunning
  4. horrific
  5. invisible
  6. charming

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